October 13, 2006
Baton Rouge, LA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Saturday night's game will be quite the homecoming, even without the king and queen.
University of Kentucky sophomore wide receiver Dicky Lyons Jr. said he expects to feel comfortable when he brings the Kentucky offense into Tiger Stadium.
Lyons, a New Orleans native, has been a key part of the Kentucky scoring offense, catching seven of junior quarterback Andre Woodson's 15 touchdown passes this season.
Lyons said he knows what to expect from his friends and family that bleed purple and gold and how to silence them.
"I'm from about 20 miles outside of Baton Rouge," Lyons said. "I've got friends calling for tickets. But when I tell them that if they want tickets they'll have to wear blue, they all stop calling."
Lyons, a Holy Cross graduate, said looking at the LSU secondary is like looking back in time.
"I've played against a lot of the guys on the LSU defense," he said. "[Senior free safety] LaRon Landry, [junior safety] Craig Steltz, I've played them before, and I know what they're like. Hopefully, I can use it to my advantage, but then again, they know me and the type of receiver I can be. It should be fun."
Lyons, the son of former Kentucky running back standout Dicky Lyons Sr., said his strong scoring numbers are more because of design than talent.
"We just run plays," Lyons said. "I get open when I can. Just this season it happens to be when we we're downfield and need points."
The sophomore wide receiver said he expects to be challenged Saturday.
"This game will measure up our offense," Lyons said. "I think they're the number one pass defense in the nation."
Lyons and junior receiver Keenan Burton will be Kentucky's primary receiving threats.
Burton enjoyed a breakout performance against University of Louisville in early September. The 6-foot-2-inch, 195 pound Burton ran back a kickoff for a score then mauled the Cardinals' secondary for 127 yards and one score on four catches.
Burton said one reason for his success is a complete recovery from a broken foot that sidelined him for four games in 2005.
"I've stayed healthy," Burton said. "I've got a lot of confidence back. I feel very blessed to be in the position that I'm in and that makes me work hard."
Burton said the all-star performance in the season opener made him a marked man.
"After the first game I received a lot of double-teams and safeties over the top of corners and things like that," Burton said. "I think that's because I've had a few big games, and they think I'm a big part of the offense."
Marked man or not, Burton has averaged 77 yards per game and caught three touchdowns. Burton said the key to contributing to the offense is to play within himself.
"I play my role," Burton said. "I try to block and let the game come to me. I try to focus on the little things, whether it is running my routes precisely or stretching two yard passes into first downs and big plays."
Burton said he will need to execute well to succeed against the LSU pass defense.
"On film, they're probably the best secondary I've seen," Burton said. "It's exciting, but we've got a big challenge ahead of us."
Burton and Lyons have caught two-thirds of Woodson's touchdown passes. Woodson has the nation's 19th best passer rating of 155.27. With him under center, the Wildcats have averaged 257 passing yards per game, which places their passing attack in the top 25 in the nation.
With the nation's 106th-ranked rushing attack and a 116th-ranked defense allowing 448 yards per game, the Kentucky passing attack has little margin for error.
So far, Kentucky's passing offense has succeeded in not leaving the defense a short field to cover. The Wildcats are plus-eight in turnover differential overall with only three Woodson interceptions.
The play of Woodson and the receivers has not escaped the attention of LSU coach Les Miles.
"Quarterback Andre Woodson is very capable," Miles said during an Southeastern Conference teleconference. "[They have] a good receiving corps. [They have] put up points on everybody."
(C) 2006 The Daily Reveille via CSTV U-WIRE